One feature that Apple didn’t spend time showing off on stage is a rumored one-handed mode for the new larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus displays. Apple is calling it “Reachability” and with it allows users to double tap the Home button to shift the entire UI down to put UI elements at the top of the display in thumb’s reach (as pictured above). How Apple would address the problem of a larger iPhone causing usability issues was a big question leading up to today’s event and now we have our answer. Samsung and others with large smartphones offer similar features that scale the screen to one side or corner to make the device easier to use with one hand.
Apple is also hoping users rely on other gestures for UI elements that might be hard to reach on the new iPhones:
By creating iPhone 6 and iOS 8 together, we optimized the software to enhance the physical design. iOS swipe gestures were designed to be more fluid across the seamless form, making it easy to navigate iPhone with one hand. With new features like Reachability you can interact with the larger screen in different ways, too. Simply double touch the Home button and the entire screen shifts down closer to your thumb. And to easily navigate Safari or Mail, swipe left to right across the screen to go backward, or swipe right to left to go forward. With the new continuous surface of iPhone, all your gestures now feel smoother than ever.
A video of the new Reachability feature in action is below: